Our guest today had to be rocketed from The Fourth Dimension and flagged down on his bike, but I finally had the chance to visit with this eternally young-at-heart guy. He calls himself Steveroni, but his real name is Steve Elsaesser, or Steve E. for short. Yes, we know and love this man whose peeps are boundless and comments ever-so-gratifying. His smile is a ray of sunshine, and his writing always touches the heart. Read on to see why.
Let’s start with a poem.
LIFE: TWISTS AND TURNS
(ode to a moment)
for each moment
wherein i spend
lived in grateful
extends itself to
of less stuff
as if each “now”
is one of
it can be, yes?
most of mine are!
(No Matter What?)
about a friend
came my way.
in God’s arms
i feel in
Your poetry is always positive and full of so much hope. People feel good after reading your work. Tell me, Steve, how did you come to write poetry this way? Have you always had this kind of outlook on life? If not, what happened?
Laurie, humbly I say to you that yes, I am a positive person. Each morning–this is the truth–I ride my scooter and sort of meditate. Usually my thoughts begin with, “God, please show me someone who needs help today, and see that I have the strength (power) to do it.” And God always comes through, even though I may not recognize it. Today my prayer changed so that I asked God to help me “be kind” to everyone I met. And then (today) God put a learning experience in my life:
I had lost my way in a maze of twisting streets. Seeing a fellow working outside his house, I asked him directions. He could not speak English, but indicated he would drive, I’d follow him, and he’d lead me out–about two miles. Imagine my smile! A complete stranger was “being kind” to me! Unlike “being nice”, “being kind” is action, doing something for others. Constant everyday happenings of this sort keep me positive and filled with hope.
My poetry–such as you called it–is simply ordinary words which communicate what I think, feel and believe. And NO! It was not always thus–grin! First half of my life was lived as a drunken addict in total denial, characterized by self-centeredness and fear. At age 40 (I am now 80) Something happened. All I really know is that Something begins with a capital “S”…and that is when my attitude and outlook on life began to change, EVER so slowly…OH, MY! You have “other” questions?
First poem, age six. Second poem, age 76…so the answer is I only recently started writing anything. Been mostly fiddling around (I play a violin!). I compose (really GOOD!) poems when I am riding my scooter, but when I arrive at a computer they have frequently evaporated like the vanishing clouds of a skywriter.
Regularly, daily, I play violin (mine is reddish-colored, by Luthier Georges Chanot, made in Paris, Fr in 1856) and I teach a 29-yr-old lawyer, now starting his second year. Teaching makes me a better player, I believe. And I play at St. Elizabeth Seton weekly masses.
Exploring history on the Internet is fun, as is reading the blogs, and FaceBooking with people from all over the world, especially my new friends in Europe, India and Malaysia
Every single day I look forward to my scooter ride. I try at least once a year to make a trip north through some states to Virginia, Tennessee, on two wheels. Often friends put me up for a night or few (right, Brian?) and best part is meeting people along the way, giving and receiving the good cheer of friendship–which we cannot otherwise know (like from TV news? Ha!).
Not ONE day passes which contains enough hours to do much of what I enjoy. I pine for more time to write.
What is your favorite of all time movie, song, age, food, animal?
The only movie I have watched more than once, is “The Godfather”, at least five times, but not recently. I’m really not a TV, movie, or newspaper person. I do keep on top of the news (Internet), even though I do not trust the so-called journalistic honesty of the media. My life is peaceful, happy, and free. I’ve cheated cancer and lived seven more years. You see, Laurie, my life is one gift after another!
My favorite music this day is the great Ninth Symphony of Beethoven. I would like to hear during my final moments the last movement which contains famous “Ode to Joy”! What greater tribute to God, than JOY, be it in music, prayer, hardship, or poetry. The Joy of Living, as joy of awareness, discovery, creativity, is what I’ve experienced in later years, the best part of life for me.
My nemesis is chocolate anything. Chocolate File Mignon, chocolate butter on (yes, chocolate) potatoes. I see, you DO understand!
Yes, I do. And I’m having such a tough time because I gave up chocolate for Lent.
Born on a farm, my sister and I had horses, raised our own steers for 4-H Club showing and auction. Of horses, hogs, Holsteins, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, and Collie dogs, my favorite animals are cats. I love their independence, patience, and purring. The minimum of care they require is a puss-plus! (“mew-mew”)
A voice may, of necessity
What’s would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
Greatest accomplishment? Staying alive–in spite of myself–for nearly 81 years. Seriously…talking about achievements, many years ago a girl walked up to me at a picnic. She said, “Are you Steve? (“Yes.”) Five years ago you came to the detoxification (locked) ward at Naples Community Hospital and I was a patient. You spoke to us for an hour about how to stay sober. I want you to know I have not had a drink since that day–5 years!” Laurie Kolp, that moment gave me not only reason to live again, but to know why. It inspired me to be ME, to write, to make music, to live, to love, to be free. Again, “S”omething happened.
There’s nothing like the feeling of helping someone like that, Steve.
If you could invite any poet, living or dead, to your house for dessert, who would it be and what would you offer them to eat and drink?
In third year of high school, my class studied and read the Odyssey (in ancient Greek), and whether written by one man, or word-of-mouth driven by many people, this invitation goes to a Greek who most know as Homer. A thousand questions I have for the man whose writings some claim to be the foundation of Western Literature. That (loosely-translated) opening of the Odyssey, “Tell me, O Muse, about the MAN Ulysses…” I recall after nearly 65 years (written 2760-3000 years ago). I would love sharing with Homer so many things! We would NOT go to a Greek restaurant. Dessert? Hmmm…Leche Con Plátano, (bananas-milk) con chocolate, of course!
How does writing poetry make you feel?
When writing poetry I am excited to the point of transference to another space, one where God might reside. It is like I become lost, lifted up from worldly dreariness, like playing a favorite violin concerto. I imagine it is how an artist might feel about a drawing or a painting, with which they are finally satisfied.
Nearly 50 years ago I moved to Naples, Florida from Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have relatives in Tennessee and Alabama, a son in Michigan, age 57–that CAN’T be correct?!?–and a son and daughter live nearby in Naples. My wife of 22 years, Anna, and I live in a house with a yard full of weeds. A stepson in Tampa, and stepdaughter in South Korea, and grandchildren (3) and great grandchildren (2)…all ours!
You are truly blessed, Steve. Thanks so much for sharing a bit of yourself with us. Now it’s your turn, dVerse friends. Ask Steve any questions you might have in the comments and he will be sure to answer them.